Missouri River Fishing Report, 24 July 2017
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Now on to what you came here for. I managed to get out to the Missouri River below Holter Dam. Fished the morning around Craig, MT. Came across a large pod of trout feeding. Lots of splashing and surface breaking seeing dorsal fins and tails. Epic Trico hatch going on, in fact driving down the road it sounded like sand hitting the windshield there was that many bugs out there. The pod I fished only fed near the surface when a group of weeds came by. After awhile it wasn't hard to figure out why. The weeds were grouping spent tricos into large groups. Why come up to feed on one or two when you get ten to fifteen in one pop. Tied on a Griffith's Gnat dry fly in size 16 and gave it a try once another group of weeds came by. Casted out and landed right behind a group of weeds, and let it sit there; about ten seconds later bam! a nice 10 inch rainbow trout took it.
Casted out and hooked into another one, but that trout threw the hook. Unfortunately for me, on one of my back casts, I hooked into the weed line and my tippet snapped; very unfortunate considering it was my only Griffith's Gnat fly in my fly box that day. Not wanting to give up and go into Craig, MT to one of the fly shops there to stock up, I frantically looked through my fly box for something close, I found a Buzzball dry fall in size 14. Tried the same strategy, and bam! another fish hooked. Once again not good enough since this trout threw the hook. I redressed the fly with some Gink's (love this stuff for dry fly fishing) and tried again. Another fish hooked. This time my knot decided to break. Lost another one, and it was my only Buzzball fly again.
So I decided that since Caddis is an afternoon favorite to give it a shot. Pulled out a Corn Fed Caddis in size 14. Worked perfectly up until noon when the pod decided to head deeper for some cooler water and feed on nymphs. The pod I was fishing was pretty far from the bank and I couldn't move any closer due to the water depth. So I called it a day. But overall, if you are fishing in the morning, dry flies are the way to go, with Griffith's Gnat, Buzzball and Corn fed Caddis being your best bets.
Good luck out there on the water and catch you on the fly!